Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cheese Making Party 7-24-10

Saturday, July, 24th the Cheesy Geek had a very enjoyable day with some family and friends demonstrating cheese making. My oldest sister, Carol, came for the “30 minute mozzarella” demo and had to leave. My other sister, Jae, and bother-in-law, Dennis, and friends Ron and Jean from our church arrived around 11 am and stayed until almost 4 pm.

The Preparation:

I made ½ gal of sweet yogurt (Culture Y5) and made half of it into yogurt cheese. I used one cup of the yogurt cheese and made a dip.
Yogurt cheese veggie dip. I took 2 cups of yogurt made with Y5 culture and drained it in butter muslin until it was reduced by half. added 1Tbs Olive Oil, 1/2tsp each dried parsley and Italian Seasoning, 1/4tsp each garlic powder and onion salt, 1/8 tsp of black pepper. Mix well and let sit over night in fridge. It is ...similar to ranch dressing for veggies. For a cracker spread, reduce the yogurt to the consistency of cream cheese then use this recipe.
Friday night I made half batch of mascarpone and put it in the fridge overnight to drain. Using my newly arrived sour cream cultures, I started a batch from half and half and set it on the kitchen table overnight. I was a bit concerned in the morning as it failed to thicken after 12 hours. By 12:30, it had thickened but was very mild tasting. I started another batch and set it out at 7:30am and on Sunday morning it had set up and tasted like sour cream.

The day:
We set out a carrot, celery and cracker tray with the veggie dip out as the guests arrived. I had started heating 2 gals of milk and added the culture to make Farmhouse Cheddar just before 11. After setting the timer for 45 minutes for the cheddar, we made the Mozzarella. (Cutting the curds in picture above) As we did the necessary waiting, I brought out the yogurt and yogurt cheese and explained the process and let everyone have a taste. (We went through 30 plastic spoons over the course of the afternoon) The results of the mozzarella making were mixed. After heating the curds the first time and kneading them, I heated them a second time and split it into two balls and let Dennis and Jean do the stretching. Dennis did very well and he soon had a nice ball of mozzarella. Jean waited a bit too long and when I tried to reheat her curds I overheated it in the microwave. It never did come together. But as Jean said; “It gives me confidence to see how it doesn’t always work. I won’t get discouraged when it doesn’t work for me.”At this point Carol had to leave. )-:
I put some chicken wings in the oven (soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic powder coating) and proceeded to making mascarpone. And through the magic of advanced planning, we enjoyed chicken wings and Jean’s authentic homemade English scones with strawberry jam and freshly made mascarpone. Thank you again, Jean, for the delicious addition to our party. The farm house cheddar was ready to have its curds cut and put in the sink of hot water to “cook” for half an hour. Meanwhile, we looked at the sour cream which was actually more like Crème fraiche. Everyone found it interesting and it was a “teachable moment” with the opportunity to explain how temperature and time will affect the tanginess of the product whether it is sour cream, or yogurt.
Meanwhile, back at the farmhouse, the curds were put into the cheese cloth and set to drain for an hour. This gave us a chance to use the whey to make some ricotta. And do a little clean up. I had a couple of oops with containers with whey and had some spills. Thank you Dennis and Jean for jumping right in and cleaning up my messes. (-: After the first two 10 minute pressings in the mold and getting the curds ready for the 12 hour press, we did a little more clean up getting ready to call it a day.

The results:
In the end, I believe there are a few more home cheese makers in Florida today. They left here with enough rennet and citric acid to make at least 4 batches of mozzarella in each household represented.
A special thanks has to go to my loving wife for not only tolerating my hobby but for baby sitting two rambunctious boys for 5 hours while her kitchen was being thoroughly invaded by the cheesy geek and cheesy geeks to be.
note this last picture shows the whey from the farmhouse cheddar, the plate with what is left of the scones, the container next to it is butter, then the mascarpone and in the center of the veggies is the yogurt veggie dip.

1 comment:

  1. I sure wish I could have stayed for the rest of the day (but really really needed to buy a new washing machine). Rick, you are an awesome instructor, patient in answering our questions and good at keeping us on task! Sorry 'bout that diversion with Jean about cake decorating!!! Jean and Ron are great fun and I enjoyed meeting them. Thank you again, you are the best cheesy geek I have ever had the pleasure of knowing!